Suthamma (Ta) Thimkaeo is an exciting Thai painter whose works have been exhibited in Thailand and the UK. Working in a representational style, she boasts a versatile body of work that includes soft colors and shapes, hard and striking lines and figures, the familiar and the unexpected. Her diverse themes include the beauty of women, human behavior and surrealism.
When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
At 13, I worked in a sweat factory in Bangkok making shirts; I walked one day. I didn’t get far; I came across an old art studio with an old man painting. I stood and watched him for ages; he invited me in, showed me what he was doing and showed me around his studio.
I knew I wanted to be like that old man and paint; I loved that old studio, loved the chaos the smell of paint, it was fascinating, and I was well and truly hooked. I didn’t know how I would do it but knew I would be an artist one day, but I remember thinking it would be easier to walk on the moon than me becoming an artist.
Later in life, I drew a cheeky little sketch and showed it to my now-husband; that sketch changed my life and got me into the world of art.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists that you are most inspired by?
One of my heroes is Vincent Van Gogh, who painted his sunflowers in Arles in the South of France in 1888. I started painting my egg flowers in Samui, in the South of Thailand, in 2016. I went to the UK and Ireland a couple of times, and I was like a kid in a sweet shop; I couldn’t believe the art galleries, the museums I was lucky enough to visit the Tate when there was a Lowry exhibition on, I spent a day in there looking at his work and wondering how could he have painted that using just five colours. I also get much inspiration from Claude Monet with his use of colour, expressiveness, detail and the softness of his beautiful paintings. My head is always in my Botticelli books and, of course, Magritte, where the inspiration for my eggs came from, and it goes without saying, Picasso and Dali.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
Alone, when I’m in my studio, it’s my world. I have my music. I often work late into the night, and it’s open on two sides, and the garden is lit up, and I love it, very peaceful, very tranquil.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
I was talking to one of my collectors from Singulart about my work, and he gave me an idea, so I’ve just had a frame made 150 x 300 cm, and it will have very powerful women in it who influenced and changed the world. The women will be surrounded by men looking on and thinking, I should be sitting there, not you, but the women are in control.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I used to sell pick-up trucks, but If I weren’t an artist, I would like to cook; I love food and love the time I have in the kitchen and would like to manage a restaurant.
Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire?
There are a lot of amazing artists on Singulart, but one who stands out for me is Kailin Zhao. I could look at his work all-day his contemporary realism portraits are beautiful, and the figures look like they will get up and walk off the canvas.
What advice would you give to young artists starting out?
Never give up and never listen to other people telling you what to paint; that’s what your heart is for.